It was a mild coincidence that my trip to Rutgers yesterday for a dead-tree edition story included the chance to talk with Scarlet Knights safety Joe Lefeged.
You remember him, right? He’s actually a pivotal figure in recent Maryland football, for better or for worse, since it was his helmet-to-helmet hit that delivered (another) concussion to quarterback Jordan Steffy in 200.
In turn, Chris Turner came in and helped the Terps hold on for a 34-24 victory that afternoon (in one of the great forgotten details of the day, the Terps actually led when Steffy was injured).
But a lot of other people remembered that controversial hit, too. And he was specifically asked (not by me, honest) what he remembered about launching Turner’s career (and launching Steffy into La-La Land).
“First of all, I was nervous,” Lefeged said. “It was my first real game playing. It was a blitz and I saw him in the pocket. I was trying to go for the ball and it was an unfortunate accident that he got hurt. But I was just playing hard.”
Maryland didn’t see it that way, considering helmet-to-helmet hits aren’t permitted. So there was a furor that week about how there was no penalty called on the play.
Lefeged, while aware of the uproar, said he put it out of his mind as quickly as possible.
“I handled it pretty well,” Lefeged said. “I didn’t pay too much attention to it. We had another game the next week, so you really couldn’t focus on that.”
But it’s OK to this back on it now. Lefeged is a Germantown native, so this is a significant homecoming for him. He has more than 20 ticket requests, and he’s now an upperclassman rather than a first-time player.
In short, it’s one of his more anticipated games since that first date with Maryland two years ago.
“Time flies,” Lefeged said. “It seems like the other day I was playing Maryland my freshman year. Now I’m a junior, so it’s exciting.”
—- Patrick Stevens